150 year celebrations

Baptists in Millom celebrated 150 years of the movement being founded in the town and also celebrating ‘Copeland Community Funding’  the new roof at the back of the Church – during the weekend of 6th & 7th May 2017.

On Saturday afternoon at 2pm Duane Farren, a local historian, presented to a congregation of around seventy people, a little of what was going on in the town during the year of 1867 which was the year that the Baptists were introduced to the town of Millom. 

Most of the people in this ‘new town’ had come up from Devon and Cornwall & across from Ireland to look for work in the newly formed Hodbarrow Mining Company.       Duane talked about the poor conditions that these people lived and worked in and the minimal wages they received.  He also had on display old maps of Millom and artefacts from the era, Duane gave a very interesting talk regarding the late eighteen hundred’s and what would have been going on in the town.

Peter Grayson & Melvyn Moyle, both members from the church, then gave a very informative presentation on the history and introduction of Baptists to the town.  Most of the history was around the ancestry of the founders of the church and a pop up banner was purchased to display the photographs and written family ancestry of the people who invested not only finance, but also commitment to the movement of Baptists in Millom.

On Saturday afternoon we were very pleased to see very important visitors come through the door, Mr.Swindale & his wife; Mr Swindale was the great great grandson of one of our founders and had travelled all the way from County Durham to be with us for the day.

Mr Swindale’s Great Great Aunty Lilly, laid this foundation stone in the wall of the church to celebrate the introduction of the Sunday school in 1913.

After the presentations and the history, Jean Liney, secretary thanked everyone for attending and also thanked the following for supporting the project of the new roof, Copeland Community Funding, The Farthing Trust, The Thornton Trust, The Forrest Hill Charitable Trust, Beatrice Laing Trust, Furness Building Society, Alan Evans Memorial Trust, , Travis Perkins & environmental firm ‘Thrive Renewables’ which is a centre for sustainable energy an independent national charity that shares knowledge and experience to help people change the way they think and act about energy.

All through the weekend celebrations, the congregation of Millom Baptist church were dressed up in clothes that were worn back in 1867.

An afternoon tea was then served in the main hall to finish off the celebrations. 

Part of our celebrations included making a new banner to let everyone know that Baptists have been around for 150 years, we are very lucky to have Peggy Troll, who is one of our lady members who is very skilful with her fingers and with the help of her sister in law Sue Troll, they have produced this beautiful banner below.

On the Sunday afternoon we started again at 2pm but this time the Baptist church members & congregation, who were still dressed in 1867 clothes, staged a little sketch based on the historical facts, some of which had been found by looking through the minute books of the church, which we were lucky enough still to have in our archives. Melvyn Moyle, had also spent numerous hours in the library at Barrow searching through records and found out quite a lot about our history, he also found other information from the ‘Ancestry site’.

A lot of hard work had gone into the weekend beforehand and we are grateful to Copeland Community Funding for the use of their bunting to let people know outside the church that there was something special going on.

The first part of the service was presented by Maggie Opie who read a poem written by Thomas Gregg, one of the founders of the Baptist movement in the town, after reading the poem, Maggie then read the poem out again in her own words, which were more apt for today’s world.  Peter Grayson then gave a talk about the church’s history and Rachel Street finished off the service with a little of what the future might look like for Millom Baptist church. David Opie led the prayer’s, we sang ‘A song for Millom’ which was written by one of our members, Sue Thompson, who has now emigrated to Canada.  Jean Liney finished the service by reading a poem she had written specially for the occasion. An afternoon tea then followed.

Jean Liney also spoke about the whole week-end live on Radio Cumbria at 07.50 on Sunday 7th

This was a very successful weekend and will be talked about and fondly remembered for a long time to come and is now part of our own history.